In the early days of its history, Chicago had a great deal of difficulty with mud. There are numerous stories about muddy streets and the problems they caused. One of those wet spots, or sloughs, was on Clark St, south of Washington. "The village trustees wishing to drain it and having no funds on hand, applied to Strachan and Scott for a loan of $60; but the wary Scotchmen refused to let them have it unless E. D. Williams endorsed it, which he did. This was probably the first loan made by the city of Chicago."
Reminiscences of Chicago During the Forties & Fifties
Part of the Fergus series - page 39
The plan was to plow a ditch on both sides of Clark street from Twelfth to the river to help drain the prairie. The cost was not to exceed sixty dollars. When Mr. Williams approached Strachan and Scott who were bankers, they required Mr. Williams to sign a personal note for the amount. The Trustees also thought it "would be well to plow up the public square at the same time and sow it with clover, in order to show strangers where it was, and it was done."
Chicago Tribune, May 8, 1881
E. B. Williams was President of the village Trustees.